It’s known as “the warm land”, and as soon as you get off the highway Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley certainly has the feeling of pleasant summer warmth, filled with agricultural fecundity. It was the Coast Salish Cowichan people who gave it the name - that’s what cowichan means in the Hul’q’umi’num language.
So solar energy lies deep in the heritage of the valley, and maybe its appropriate that British Columbia’s first solar bulk buy has sprung unto life here, and is pioneering a new approach to solar installations.
From the first solar cells in 1883 with their 1% efficiency to today’s research lab cells that claim over 40% efficiency, the progress of the solar revolution has been bumpy and often uncomfortable for the major solar players, but it has been nonetheless steady.
It seems far away, but it’s extremely relevant, since the mass adoption of solar PV in China could accelerate the dramatic fall in solar prices.
A year ago, China had a goal to install 5 GW (5,000 MW) of solar PV by 2020 - the equivalent of 2.5 million houses each with a 2kW system. With 5 GW installed in 2012 alone, however, China increased the target to 21 GW by 2015 – and then last week, it increased it further to 40 GW by 2015.
Can you join the solar energy revolution if you don’t have your own sun-exposed roof? Can you dip in, without having to spend big bucks for a complete system?
The Fortis electric utility in south-central BC wants its customers to be able to say “yes” to both questions.
Fortis is proposing a Community Solar Pilot Project that is now before the BC Utilities Commission for approval. The physical part of the project is a 720 panel, 240 kilowatt solar PV generating facility at the Ellison substation in the north end of Kelowna, estimated to cost $961,000.
Energy Connections broke new ground this year, tackling the difficult but inspiring topic of community empowerment. People from across BC, heralding from various different backgrounds and industries, united under one roof for a day of information, inspiration and engaging dialogue.
Looking back on the event as a whole, it is difficult to envision a more appropriate keynote speaker to kick off this incredible day; a day marked by passionate and like-minded individuals learning from one another and engaging in the broad vision of sustainable energy.
Thompson Rivers University student finds inspiration at the Superheroes Exhibition
Have you ever wondered how to improve the present and the future in an incredible way? It sounds like a lot of work, but in fact it’s easier that you thought. As everyday citizens, we can really make a difference.
The BCSEA Kamloops Chapter has organized an inspiring exposition about the people in and around Kamloops, who have reduced their footprint substantially with the use of alternative energy.
Kamloops Sustainability Leaders Share Their Thoughts
When the team led by Kamloops resident and BCSEA local chapter volunteer James Gordon started working on the ‘Everyday Sustainable Energy Superheroes’ project, the expectation was that they would deliver a well-rounded exhibit of good sustainable deeds in the community. Pretty straightforward, right?
A culmination of all of the day’s sessions, Session Four will take an inspiring spin on addressing the barriers that are limiting the potential of many small communities across BC. Beginning with a pragmatic approach to the reality of limited finances and collective will, our panel of esteemed speakers will demonstrate the current avenues and opportunities to bring about change in your community.